Congress MP, opposition decry Delhi bus fare hike

Congress MP, opposition decry Delhi bus fare hike

The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting of the Delhi government.
"The decision to hike the fare has been taken after seven years. The rate of the student pass has been increased after 30 years," Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said here after the cabinet meeting.

A Rs.3 ticket will now cost Rs.5, the Rs.7 ticket has been upped to Rs.10 and the Rs.10 to Rs.15. The government has also increased rates of the monthly pass, the daily pass and the student pass.

A daily pass that cost Rs.25 will now come for Rs.40 while monthly pass has gone up from Rs.450 to Rs.800. But the government has not increased fares for senior citizens (Rs.50 a month) and mediapersons (Rs.100 a month).

"We had not increased the fare earlier thinking that we will increase them when we  bring in the low floor buses and phase out blueline buses. We took the decision as the process of phasing out blueline buses has now started," Lovely told reporters.
"We have hiked the fares as we are bringing in low floor buses, which are very costly. The low floor buses are safe and comfortable. DTC has a expenditure of nearly Rs.577 crore. With this increase, the corporation will earn Rs.400 crore more."
According to the transport minister, talks were underway with the urban development ministry to allow commercial use of DTC bus depots. "Whatever profit we will earn from that would be given back to the people," he added.   
The decision came in for flak from the ruling Congress, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and daily commuters.

Even Delhi Congress chief J.P. Agarwal, MP from Northeast Delhi, is unhappy.
"I am not aware of the details but I am definitely unhappy about this bus fare hike and can completely empathise with the common man," said Agarwal.
"While a hike in the fare has been due, this is not the right time to increase fares. People are still reeling under recession," Aggarwal told IANS.
Demanding an immediate roll-back and threatening street protests, BJP's leader of opposition in the Delhi Assembly V.K. Malhotra said the increase in bus fares was a "double whammy" for the poor.

"In an environment of unprecedented inflation, when people of weaker sections of society are struggling to make ends meet, this increase in bus fares hits them where it hurts them the most," the senior BJP leader said.
"They don't want poor people to live. It has become impossible to travel. How can they do this? Cost of all essential things, including sugar, vegetables and pulses have gone up. Now this. This is not justified," said Vimla Devi, 55, who works as a housemaid.

"Delhi Metro is also planning to increase its fares and the government is also planning to increase water prices. Where will the common person go," said homemaker Vimlesh Gupta.    

"The hike will not just affect the common man but also the student community, which generally has a very tight monthly budget. What this drastic hike will do is either force students not to travel by DTC or travel ticketless," added student activist Amulya Nidhi.